K-pop artists are under a lot of pressure as they build their careers and connect with the public. Until a few years ago it was taboo to openly discuss mental health, but that never prevented Idols from addressing them repeatedly in their music.
October 10th is World Mental Health Day and an opportunity to remind one another of the importance of mental health and its impact on overall wellbeing. In that light, here is a selection of K-pop songs that advocate for mental health.
1. B.A.P. – “Wake me up”
This masterpiece by B.A.P is a very graphic illustration of mental health. While the music video visualizes some of the most common mental health issues such as body image, depression, and anxiety, the lyrics send a strong message of hope to end these struggles.
2. San E – “Advisor”
San E shares his personal struggles with mental health through this raw song in which he literally struggles to finally seek advice on how to get better and regain control of his life.
3. Dynamic duo and EXOChen – “nosedive”
Dynamic Duo and Chen offer a means of comfort to people battling depression with this song. They express their support and send their heartfelt consolation through the healing texts.
4. 2NE1 – “Ugly”
There is no standard for beauty, but many feel entitled to judge other people’s physical appearance when it hurts their feelings and affects their self-esteem. 2NE1 has always been out of the box with its concepts, and “Ugly” is a track that reveals uncertainties that many can relate to.
5. Sunmi – “border line”
Sunmi gets candid in this emotional single in which she reveals details about her sanity and underscores the price idols pay for their fame. She also reveals her vulnerability and the pain she went through when she was scrutinized by the public.
6th SEVENTEEN – “trauma”
Inspired by their personal struggles, SEVENTEEN’s hip hop unit reveals their vulnerability on this heartbreaking track. In the texts, they tell of their own experiences with loneliness, self-doubt and pressure on events from the past.
7th Amber Liu – “limits”
Another artist who knows all about criticism that pokes holes in his self-esteem is Amber. However, that didn’t stop them from fighting their way out of every hurdle and staying true to themselves, despite what others say.
8th. Stray children – “Mirror”
Reconciliation with yourself is one of the hardest things to achieve and the Stray Kids members have perfectly mirrored what it feels like in their song. Fear, confusion and doubt often emerge and cloud the perception of things, which inevitably affects their well-being.
9. Kim Jonghyun feat. Taeyeon – “lonely”
The late composer composed this melancholy ballad SHINeeJonghyun addresses the issues of loneliness and the fear of burdening others with our problems. At the same time, the melody conveys a feeling of comfort, as the core message behind this duet is to be understood.
10. Lee Hi – “Breathe”
Another nice song by Jonghyun is “Breathe”, which he gave to Lee Hi. From personal experience, the artist deals with a slight panic disorder that made breathing very difficult. She wrote the lyrics in the hope that they would help people who are also struggling with breathing.
August 11th D – “The Last”
Suga has been through a lot in his life and he decided to talk about it in his first mixtape as Agust D. One of his songs, “The Last,” is an open letter that exposes mental health issues that he has valiantly dealt with, such as depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and social anxiety.
12. Epik High feat. Sunwoo JungA – “In Seoul”
Dealing with the outside world can be stressful at times, and Epik High knows that. According to them, anxiety can sometimes become so debilitating that it disrupts your sleep to the point of insomnia.
If you would like to speak to someone, please don’t hesitate to seek help and get in touch. click Here you can find a list of the international hotlines If you cannot find your country, please call your local emergency number.
Which song speaks to you the most? Let us know in the comments below.
Esmee L.. is a Moroccan avid dreamer, writer and Hallyu enthusiast.
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